Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fine Hand Built Bicycles and Making New Friends

Recently, I rode my 650B World Voyageur conversion to the shop. As I dismounted and went to roll my bike inside I spied a beautiful orange bike locked to the lamp post in front. I walked in to meet the owner and ask about the bike; obviously not something I see everyday.

Inside I met Negishi, a distinguished looking gentleman in a driving cap. Negishi's English is not perfect, but we had no trouble discussing fine bicycles. I asked him if I could photograph his bike (I had only my cell phone) and he politely obliged. Gishi, who is from Tokyo, has been in Louisville for two years. Gishi, Vic and I spent over two hours discussing vintage bicycles, fishing and food. I got such a kick out of hearing Gishi "oooh" and "ahh", searching for the English word as he pointed at bikes in the Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles. I asked him how many bikes he owned and Gishi answered "Two."

"Only two, huh?", I asked. "What is your other bicycle?". He explained that his other bike is a Gary Fisher klunker replica. "Cool!", I exclaimed. We exchanged contact info and promised to meet up for rides and perhaps some fishing soon. It's always nice to meet someone much like yourself and it seems even more so when that person is from a different country and culture.

As we were outside the shop looking at his bicycle Parkside Bikes owner, Ben, rolled up on his gorgeous Merckx. Wow! Three orange bikes!

Here is Gishi's Alps 650A machine built by renowned Japanese constructeur Hiroshi Hagiwara. It's purpose built for hill climbing. He pointed out several of the features to which I was naturally drawn. He explained that the pump is positioned behind the seat tube to make portage easier and that he chose to have if fillet brazed rather than have lugs as he preferred a simpler look. Pretty neat, huh?